NEVER TOO LATE - Episode 1

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Yahoo chat, online, Oceanic Bank back in Lagos, University of Ibadan with a First Class in Physics, London, quantum physics.

She logged onto her Yahoo chat and scanned her list of friends to see who was online. She was meant to catch up with her sister, but she was in the habit of checking who else was online first. Her sister was not yet online, but someone else caught her eyes. She glanced at his name and wondered if she should send him a message. He might think you are hitting on him, she cautioned herself. But it would be a simple message! That should not pass for an advance at him, she countered her initial thought. After all, we did not even know each other that much before he left the country. She went ahead and hit on his Yahoo name and the message box appeared. “Hi,” she typed and then clicked send. Almost instantly, her message was replied. “Hey, long time no see. How are you?” “I am fine, thanks how about you?” “I am good thanks. So where are you?” he asked her. “I am in Surrey,” she typed back. “Outside London?” “Yes.” “Interesting. I am in London.” “Really? I thought you were in Canada.” She asked with quite a dose of surprise. “Not really. You see, I did not want to tell anyone where I was going. You recall there was a lot of gossip flying around the office back in the day, so I wanted to maintain a level of discretion. I made up the Canada story. I moved to the UK instead.” “You never really trusted anyone, not even me. I thought we were friends?” She included a frowny face emoji in her reply.

“Of course we are.” “And it has been over two years since you left Naija and you never bothered to tell me. True friends don’t do that.” “Come on, let me explain,” he said pleadingly as he tried to assuage her embittered spirit. They had been colleagues at Oceanic Bank back in Lagos. She had been working at the head office of the bank some three years before he joined. He was one of the brightest recruits in his recruitment class, having left the University of Ibadan with a First Class in Physics. He was dark; so dark that you could see the sun bounce off his ebony skin on a sunny day. He smiled ebulliently as though he had no cares in the world. Even though he was a junior executive working in operations, he had a knack for fashion. He seemed to roll out a new suit every few months, and they fitted him impeccably. His shoes would shine with a glossy reflection in the sun, and his shirts mostly white and blue were just as immaculate. She too was blessed with a buoyant smile, and she made little attempt to obscure it. While her colleagues complained of stress, she discharged her duties with panache and joy. She found him impressive largely because of his academic acumen (apart from his good looks). She was attracted to intelligent men, but she was careful not to make her feelings known to him or anyone. After all, she was a fresh recruit and she was convinced she was older than him. There was not a chance that anything would flourish between them romantically.

“I am sorry Maryanne,” he typed. “By the way, why don’t you send your number so I can call you?” She quickly typed her number, and in less than a minute, her phone was vibrating rhythmically on the table. She grabbed it briskly, and picked the call. “Is that you Michael?” she asked. “It is me Maryanne. So good to hear your beautiful voice. I hope that round, beautiful face of yours still sparkles like morning flower?” She blushed even though he was not there. Come on why are you blushing? She asked herself admonishingly. After all, he is just being nice and there is no chance that anything would ever happen between us. “Stop flattering me Mike. What are you doing in London?” “I don’t flatter people. I say the truth.” “Really? So how come you never stayed in touch?”  “I am sorry Maymay,” he replied. He used to call her Maymay when they both worked in adjoining offices at Oceanic head office. “I have been very busy since I moved over here. I had a hectic master’s program and I am now doing a PhD in Quantum Physics. I barely have time for anything else.” “You are still studying? Book worm!” “Yes I am. You know I can see what you look like if we use video chat on Yahoo,” he suggested. “That would be nice,” she replied without resistance. She was not sure why, but every part of her wanted to hear all about him. She maintained to herself that it was nothing serious. They were just friends. He talked her through how to get her video chat to work. Finally, the magic of technology beamed their images to each other.

“You are even more beautiful than ever before,” he pointed out. She smiled making sure she did not blush too much. “Thanks. You look great too. I am surprised you still have hair on your head with that quantum physics thing you mentioned.” “I am just as surprised,” he added with a handsome smile, which carved out characteristically beautiful dimples on either side of his cheeks. “I am so glad you still have those dimples,” she noted. “I don’t think they will ever go away. They are here to stay. So what are you doing in Surrey?” “I have just finished my master’s degree in Human Resources.” “Interesting. So what are you up to next?” “I am not sure yet. I took a study leave to come and study. I guess I will be heading home in some months to resume work.” “It seems you will be in that bank for the rest of your life.” “Maybe. We’ll see. I recall you never liked the banking environment.” “No, I did not. It was not my thing.” “So are you happy with what you are doing now?” “Yes, it is exciting, challenging and refreshing.” “You describe quantum physics as though it were a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Crazy man. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in that your brain.”

About a week later, Maryanne was in London. She moved to London to stay with her sister, Lucy who was a lawyer in London. Michael came over to see her two days after she had moved to London. Maryanne was thirty-two. She had been in sour relationships in the past, which left her guarded from men. Here sisters had not seen her with any man in years. As her age crept up, they would tease her about her fear of men in an attempt to get her to start dating again, and hopefully get married. “Love is not for me,” she would answer them vehemently. When she told them a man was coming to see her, they were all delighted. They were five sisters. Lucy had called everyone to tell them of the one-in-a-generation guy that was coming to see Maryanne. One of her sisters lived in the US and another lived in Canada, while one lived in Lagos. They discussed Michael’s visit with deep excitement and great expectation. Who could this guy be? They wondered. Lucy answered the door when Michael rang the bell. She lived in an exclusive neighborhood at Sheppard’s bush. She was about four years younger than Maryanne and she and her boyfriend were already talking marriage.

She could not take her eyes off Michael the moment she saw him standing in front of her door. She would have pierced his mind to get an idea the type of guy he was if it were possible. He was immaculately dressed as usual. He wore a multi-colored pair of Nike sneakers, a bright green T-shit and a pair of faded Fubu jeans. Lucy’s first impression of him was that he was a good dresser. When he spoke, he had a deep baritone, and he smiled as he spoke. For someone who had been in London just over two years, his accent was clean and sharp with a tinge of British influence to it. She liked his style and the longer they chatted in the living room before Maryanne emanated from her deliberately prolonged visit to the wash room, the more she liked him. He was knowledgeable. He spoke with confidence and knowledge; well versed in world politics, geography and current affairs.


Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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NEVER TOO LATE - Episode 1
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Yahoo chat, online, Oceanic Bank back in Lagos, University of Ibadan with a First Class in Physics, London, quantum physics. An African Literary Blog
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